My name is Diane Marie Price, I am 56 years old and married with 3 children aged 33yrs , 28yrs and 14 yrs. My youngest son Christopher has ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. No one could have prepared me for the journey I have taken with my son; the emotions, feelings of helplessness. Along with the lack of knowledge to secure the services I needed to support him to have a better quality of life. Some of it, a bit of it, but never all of it reflected current service provision.
It can be a lonely and daunting task searching for the key to unlock the answers and service provision which is out there, if you only knew how and where. Twelve years on I have enhanced my skills, knowledge, and understanding of what it is disabled children young people and their families need to enable them to have a better quality and inclusive life. Support and care is essential, someone to listen to them and more importantly hear, what they are saying and act promptly upon it. Ensuring there is practical advice, support and sign posting to the services needed. It is important to be given clear and transparent information and to be given choices so that individuals receive tailored care and support to meet their needs.
Activity Breaks for disabled children young people and their families which are innovative, inclusive and in the community are the perfect place to re charge the batteries, allow some breathing space and ultimately provide quality time for the individual through allowing them to do what they want to do, whatever that may be! Short activities provide opportunities for the young person to have an inclusive break out in the community, to have new experiences and try different activities, meet new friends and have a sense of belonging within the community they live in.
I worked as a Housing/Council Tax Benefit Assessor for 20 years and have an excellent knowledge of welfare benefits. Whilst working for my employer CAPITA I participated in voluntary mentoring and undertook training to support students in a local high school who were not achieving their grades. Through providing one to one support in my place of work and in school the pupil’s confidence and self belief grew and with this they began to achieve. I was also involved in an industry day in the school, I valued this experience and the reward of seeing the students achieving better grades made the project very rewarding.
I have 10 years experience of volunteering with Blackburn with Darwen, Local Authority, working with disabled children, young people and their families. I sat on the disabled children’s Disabled Facilities Grant panel for 2 years as a parent representative. I attend the Disability links steering group monthly and The Forums every 3 months. I also attend the disabled children’s North West Regional Networking meetings.
I worked as a volunteer at the Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service for 2 over years. I was the Chairperson on the Carers Forum. I worked on a project raising awareness in GP surgeries and Health Centres to promote the importance of the Carers role, and also to encourage GP’s to be able to identify who Carers are and to make referrals to the Carers Service.
I worked for Kids as the North West Regional Manager for two and a half years. Kids is a National Charity working with disabled children, young people and their families. The services Kids provided were commissioned by the Local authorities. The time I have spent working for Kids has been invaluable and given me enormous experience in many different areas. I have been on a huge learning curve and embarked on new projects from the beginning, seeing them grow and develop. I have recruited, managed staff and provided supervision. I have knowledge in HR procedures, disability legislation the related policies and procedures and have applied my financial skills to complete tenders bidding for further contracts.
Hard work, dedication and passion from my team and I have provided wonderful experiences and outcomes for the disabled children young people and their families that we worked with. The personal satisfaction and rewards, the smile, the laughter, the special moments when you see an achievement through confidence and self esteem beginning to grow, and those tiny steps, which go on to lay strong foundations. Knowing that you have cared and made a difference is a strong and powerful driving force.
Whilst delivering the service I have become aware of the gaps in the services currently being provided. Parent/carers and disabled children and young people need to have a “voice”, advocacy by building good rapport and trust with disabled children, young people and their families it can be established what it is that they want to say and ask. Meetings with Health, Education and Social Care and Welfare Benefits can be intimidating, jargon is used and it can be difficult to speak and be clear about what you want to say. It is difficult when you are the person emotionally involved to be rational and calm and hear everything which is being said. As a parent I have had these experiences first hand and understand the difficulties.
As the founder of this new business my vision is one which will shape the future and enable new reforms to become a part of everyday life for every disabled child, young person and their family. As a team we will listen, hear, act and as a group put forward concerns, issues and new ideas to become a part of the wider community. Disabled children young people and their families will have a strong voice. I will use my personal knowledge and experience along with my passion to make a difference to ensure the project moves forward.
I aim to provide a range of individual Person Centred Services. Specifically tailored to meet the changing needs of children, young people and families; directed by the SEN Green Paper. I will achieve this through employing a workforce of paid and voluntary workers who do care and want to make a difference to the lives of our most vulnerable children, young people and families in society. I will keep up to date with new policies and legislation and through consultation with families to hear their opinions and thoughts. This feedback will be communicated to the right people to continually improve the lives of our disabled children, young people and families.
The Queen’s Speech delivered 9th May 2012 states:
“My Government will propose measures to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs. New arrangements will be proposed to support children involved in family law cases, reform court processes for children in care and strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner.”
David Cameron’s statement states:
“Our Families and Children Bill will put families front and centre of our national life, with unprecedented support for parents and the biggest reform for thirty years of support for children with special needs or disabilities.”
In Di Go has a clear vision which will help to shape the future through putting these reforms into action and making a real difference for every disabled child, young person and their family.
Diane Marie Price
Founder of In Di Go